Monday, December 29, 2014

Salt use at record pace this woeful winter, PennDOT says

What a woeful winter, with 40.6 inches of snow in Philadelphia so far, subzero wind chills, and an ice storm that knocked out power to a winter-record number of PECO customers.

Salt use at record pace this woeful winter, PennDOT says

PennDOT workers load up trucks with salt in preparation for a storm in early January 2014.  (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)
PennDOT workers load up trucks with salt in preparation for a storm in early January 2014. (Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer)

What a woeful winter, with 40.6 inches of snow in Philadelphia so far, subzero wind chills, and an ice storm that knocked out power to a winter-record number of PECO customers.

One measure of how horrible things have been is the amount of salt spread and salt brine used by PennDOT.

The rate has been historic, says spokesman Eugene Blaum. "The potential is there to exceed the record amount of salt spread in the winter of 2009-10," he said around noon. "... We expect to use more salt brine this year than we did in 2010-11, likely exceeding that total today. Our crews are spraying salt brine on major expressways today in advance of snow that is expected to fall this weekend."

The National Weather Service is predicting another inch or two across the entire region.

Blaum's not worried about running out. "PennDOT has a healthy supply of salt at this time, with 30,000 tons on ground in the Philadelphia region," he said. "We also have the capability of ordering another 20,000 tons. The salt is stored and kept under cover in 36 salt domes in the region."

Here are a few lists of salt use by PennDOT. Note that the No. 1 amount of seasonal salt spread is nearly 10 times the least.

Most salt spread used, by winter

Since 1982. For PennDOT's District 6-0, which covers Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware and Chester Counties. 

1) 142,738 tons of salt spread, 2009-10
2) 134,516 tons, 2010-11
3) 110,000 tons, 2013-14 (as of Feb. 7)
4) 101,956 tons, 2002-03
5) 101,194 tons, 2003-04
6) 101,185 tons, 1995-96
7) 87,899 tons, 1993-94
8) 80,586 tons, 2008-09
9) 80,011 tons, 2000-01
10) 77,015 tons, 2006-07

Least salt spread used, by winter

Since 1982. For PennDOT's District 6-0.

25,267 tons, 1994-95
24,155 tons, 2001-02
24,032 tons, 1982-83
21,012 tons, 1991-92
14,907 tons, 1997-98

Salt brine use, past five years

Ranked in descending order. For PennDOT's District 6-0.

1) 696,688 gallons, 2010-11
2) 685,422 gallons, 2009-10
3) 630,000 gallons , 2013-14 (as of Feb. 7)
4) 365,269 gallons, 2012-13
5) 131,000 gallons , 2011-12

See more Philly Lists. Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

 

 

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